From Meteorite to Meteor-Wrong: Investigating a controversial specimen from Cuba

  • Yasmani Ceballos-Izquierdo Biblioteca Digital Cubana de Geociencias, Calle 40 #2702, e/27 y 29, Madruga, Mayabeque, Cuba.
  • Aurelio Nieto Codina Museum of Natural Sciences, Madrid, Spain.
  • Johanset Orihuela Earth and Environment (Geosciences), Florida International University, Miami, Florida, 33199, USA.
Keywords: Cuba; iron meteorites; meteorite; SEM-EDS


The meteorite “Cuba”, whose type of mass is catalogued as MNCN No. 17294 (Museum of Natural Sciences, Madrid, Spain), has long been considered an official meteorite, included in the Meteoritical Society’s online database. However, the provenance and nature of this metallic object remain uncertain due to inconsistencies in its weight, density, hardness, fall location, and chemical composition. This paper argues that this specimen is not a meteorite by examining its chemical and textural properties using modern analytical techniques and by considering alternative explanations for its origin. The application of scanning electron microscopy and energy-dispersive X-ray spectroscopy has helped to confirm the terrestrial nature of the specimen. These results were compared with a specimen supposed to be a meteorite fragment, and with the other two masses labelled as “Cuba” in other museum collections.

Regular Papers